Facebook removes exposed user records stored on Amazon's servers

Over 540 million Facebook records were left exposed on an Amazon cloud-computing server

BEN MAGOT APOver 540 million Facebook records were left exposed on an Amazon cloud-computing server

A U.S. cybersecurity company said Wednesday that records of millions of Facebook users stored on Amazon's cloud servers were exposed to the public.

It has emerged that more than 540m Facebook user records were exposed on public servers after researchers from cybersecurity firm UpGuard discovered two separate sets of user data on Amazon cloud servers. "We are committed to working with the developers on our platform to protect people's data", the spokesperson added. This information includes 22,000 passwords in plaintext and some other sensitive information. Facebook has, in some cases, demanded some new users to disclose their email passwords, without any legitimate reason.

Facebook has been hit by a number of privacy-related issues, with the latest being a glitch that exposed passwords of millions of users stored in readable format within its internal systems to its employees.

The company moved to restrict developer access and conduct a wholesale review of third-party apps previous year after the widespread Cambridge Analytica breach.

The social network said its policies prohibited Facebook data being stored in publicly-accessible databases.

The researchers contacted Cultura Colectiva about the leak and there was no response.

While the passwords were that of the At The Pool app, its exposure becomes a problem for users who have a tendency of going by the "one password for all" rule.

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About a year ago, Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg was preparing to testify to Congress about a particularly egregious example: A developer who handed over data on tens of millions of people to Cambridge Analytica, the political consulting firm that helped Donald Trump on his presidential campaign.

Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic have sharply criticized the company's data privacy practices.

According to UpGuard, a Mexico-based media company called Cultura Colectiva was responsible for the biggest leak.

The largest of the two datasets came from Mexican media company Cultura Colectiva. "The password is simply no longer enough to provide a sufficient level of security in today's threat landscape".

'The data exposed in each of these sets would not exist without Facebook, yet these data sets are no longer under Facebook's control.

Realizing that for the dead end it was, UpGuard instead reached out to Amazon on January 28th and received a reply on February 1st, which noted that the owner of the bucket had been made aware of the issue.

Stored in unsecured portions of Amazon's cloud, the Facebook user records were an easy catch for outsiders if they knew where to look.

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